UPDATE: An online auction set up to raise funds for a San Diego County wildlife sanctuary caring for a bear that repeatedly raided L.A. County foothill communities was off the E-bay website, but would be up again Thursday afternoon.
Officials at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine said that $105,000 had been raised toward a goal of $250,000 for completing Meatball's four-acre habitat and that they hoped the auction of the animal's ear tag, a paw print and a lock of fur would boost donations.
But the auction, which opened Wednesday and was to expire on Nov. 16, was removed from E-bay's site just hours after bidding began.
The organization will repost the auction without the fur, said Bobbi Brink, Founder and Director, Lions Tigers & Bears.
"Lions Tigers and Bears coorporated with the California Department of Fish and Game for the investigation of our Ebay ad this morning. We were unaware that it was a violation of the law to sell a lock of hair from a bear online. This was an open and closed investigation, and Lions Tigers and Bears has Fish and Game's blessing to put Meatball's ear tag and paw print up for sale on Ebay. We thank everyone for your continued support for fundraising of the new habitat for Meatball," Brink said.
Patch heard from bear activist Ali Van Zee via Twitter that the organization mistakenly posted hair tufts in the auction, which were removed from the bear for educational purposes.
The inclusion of the lock of fur in the auction may be in violation of state law, California Department of Fish and Game spokesman Andrew Hughan told the Los Angeles Times.
"The sale of bear parts is illegal in California and DFG is investigating," he told the newspaper.
The animal, a California brown bear weighing about 500 pounds and known as both Meatball and Glen Bearian -- an allusion to Glendale, which he came to like frequenting -- was captured in August, having been caught and returned to the Angeles National Forest twice before.
The bear recently underwent a complete physical exam--while sedated--and was also neutered by a veterinarian from wildlife rescue Lions Tigers and Bears,' according to a news release.
"Lions Tigers and Bears is a no kill, no breed no sell sanctuary. In order to put animals together so they can live happily, they are spayed or neutered," said Lions, Tigers & Bears spokeswoman Jennifer Jenkins.
Dr. Jane Meier conducted blood work, parasite testing, a dental exam and inserted a microchip. The bear is about 5 or 6-years-old, weighs 502 pounds and is healthy, according to the organization.
Meier removed Meatball's California Department of Fish & Game "210" ear tag. He was also paw printed and staff removed a few locks of his fur for display in the childrens’ education center at the sanctuary.
The organization has collected $105,000 of the $250,000 needed to construct Meatball's new habitat in Alpine, CA. His safety bedroom is near completion and the landscape designer and architect are finishing the renderings of the habitat while the landscape is being prepared for construction.
Anyone interested in making a direct donation to Lions Tigers & Bears can visit www.LionsTigersAndBears.org.
Editor's Note: A press release from Lions, Tigers & Bears originally stated that the bear's fur would be sold on eBay. This is incorrect and the article was updated.
City News Service contributed to this updated report.